The first of six auctions to sell off gaming equipment owned by Saipan casino operator Imperial Pacific International (CNMI) LLC will be held on 30 November as receivers look to redeem more than US$2 million owed under a US District Court order.
Clear Management Ltd, a company headed by Silver Heritage Group co-founder Tim Shepherd, was appointed as receiver in October after IPI was ordered to repay US$2.1 million to USA Fanter Corporation for construction work at IPI’s Saipan hotel and casino, Imperial Palace‧Saipan, in 2019. Legal action was launched in January 2020 after IPI failed to pay.
A total of six auctions will be held – one per month until 29 April 2022 – with Clear Management now taking blind bids for the 30 November event.
“The auction is proceeding well,” Shepherd told Inside Asian Gaming.
“IPI provided the court its inventory and the good news is that the Commonwealth Casino Commission (CCC) has been very professional and they have not let any equipment out of that casino. The idea some assets might have gone missing in the 18 months since the casino was closed [in March 2020] has proven not to be the case which is good news.
“We have committed to putting everything up for auction at least two weeks before each auction which gives people plenty of time to bid. The good news is we are getting bids already so it’s all going well.”
Imperial Palace‧Saipan closed its doors in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but IPI has since had its casino license suspended by the CCC following a series of complaints for failure to comply with certain requirements under its license agreement.
The complaints, filed by CCC Executive Director Andrew Yeom, relate to IPI’s failure to pay its annual US$15.5 million license fee in August 2020, failure to pay its annual US$3.1 million regulatory fee in October 2020, failure to contribute US$20 million to the community benefit fund in both 2018 and 2019, failure to comply with its minimum US$2 billion capital requirement and failure to comply with a CCC order to pay all money owing to its vendors.
IPI was also given six months from April to repay both the US$15.5 million casino license fee and US$3.1 million regulatory fee, as well as a US$6.6 million fine, or risk having its license revoked.
The company has since filed an administrative request for the Superior Court in Saipan to conduct a judicial review into its license suspension, which is ongoing.
However, the company is currently at risk of having its license revoked altogether, potentially leaving it with a substantial integrated resort development it can neither complete nor effectively utilise.
As for the IPI’s dormant gaming equipment, valued a year ago at around US$2.25 million, Shepherd said he was simply focused on maximising value for the benefit of the plaintiff.
“The valuation might be a bit different now,” he said. “Whether we can get that full amount, time will tell. The creditor has sued for and won US$2.1 million so we will get as much as we can for them.
“We’re hopeful, the bids are coming in and our job is to sell everything we can for as much money as we can.”
To view the equipment available at auction, visit www.gamingequipmentauction.com.